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Protecting you and your business since 1975.

Get to know.. Teresa Bales

Find out a little bit more about our Finance Manager, Teresa!

Teresa.. how long you have been in the industry?

I started working part time as a Saturday girl in my local newsagent shop at around 14 as well as the odd babysitting duties for my neighbours and parents friends. I continued at the shop until I started my first job with Royal Insurance in Oct 1978 when I was 17. The photo to the right is me outside the newsagents on Convent Walk, Sheffield when I was about 16.

How long have you been with IFM?

I moved from RSA when the company was relocating to Leeds as I didn’t fancy the long commute every day, and started my new role as Office Manager with Ian F Micklethwaite Ltd (later to become IFM Insurance Brokers) in November 1987, so I have been with IFM for 34 years now.

If you weren’t in insurance what would you like to do?

Well I never really had any ideas or ambitions for any kind of profession when I was at school. When I was a small girl I used to enjoy watching the shop assistants in Woolworths cutting cheese with a wire cutter and I always thought would be a lovely job, or weighing out the loose biscuits from the large tin boxes at the biscuit and cake counters. I thought they were very clever to almost always guess the correct weight Mum had asked for first time.

Where you are from?

I was born in Sheffield and lived in a little terraced house in Walkley, only a few streets from where I now live, although my Mum is Maltese.

Tell us about your typical weekend

Saturdays are still mostly a food shopping day, for both my own household and for my Mum. In the evening we like to go to a nice restaurant or the cinema. Sundays I like to catch up on my gardening and nip to the local for a beer or two.

What are your hobbies?

I like gardening, sewing (I used to make a lot of my own clothes in my teenage years) knitting, music, travel and reading books on holiday. I also like to take my favourite dog, Ruby Do for walkies. He is such a gentle, laid back dog and I love him dearly.

What’s your favourite holiday location?

Well, that would have to be Malta, but I also enjoy Spain and the Greek Islands. Closer to home I like Jersey, Ostend, Lille and Toulouse. There are many places I would still like to visit in France, like the small not so well known villages in and around the battle fields especially.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably a nice medium rib eye steak, but I enjoy most food. My only hate is coconut which I have disliked from childhood.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?

A bit boring, but probably a nice creamy vanilla.

What type of music are you into?

Mainly 70’s and 80’s music.

What was the last TV show you binge-watched?

Derry Girls, although it was a little difficult to understand the thick Irish accents! I love to watch re-runs of Columbo over and over again which annoys my husband who always says once you’ve seen it there is no need to watch again, but I like to see them again, especially whilst I am doing my ironing or housework on a Sunday afternoon. I always say “Oh, I don’t remember this one, don’t think I’ve seen it” (but I always have).

What do you do on your commute to/from work?

Just listen to the radio in my car.

What’s the phone app you use most?

A what?? Phone app… what’s one of those??

What’s your favourite board game?

I don’t really have a favourite, but as a girl my parents bought me a Miss World game for Christmas. I still have it in my loft although (obviously) don’t play it now. It consists of small dolls dressed up in swimsuits and they parade around a board until the first one to reach the stage is crowned Miss World and she has a cloak and crown to wear! – not very PC these days, but I enjoyed playing it with my sister and sometimes my brother would begrudgingly play to make up the numbers, although I am sure he would not admit to it today!

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?

That would be Alan Titchmarsh who was at the NEC Gardeners World Live one year. I purchased his latest novel at the time, The Last Lighthouse Keeper and he autographed it for me. I was thrilled, although I never did read the novel, couldn’t get past the first chapter! I almost met David Dickinson one afternoon in Petticoat Lane, London. I was on a day trip and he rushed past me and disappeared into an antique shop.

What’s the one thing that can instantly make your day better?


What would you change about yourself if you could?

Probably my hair. I would like it to be thicker and shinier.

What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?

After gifting sums of money and the usual paying off mortgages for my family and friends etc, I would like to buy an air ambulance for the Yorkshire area as they do such good work. If I won the very big millions, I would ask the local hospitals what equipment they were short of too and buy some equipment for them.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.

When I was in infant school I used to wait for my sister to finish as we had to walk home together. On Fridays she used to do an after school Scottish dancing activity and I would sit on a bench in the hall waiting for her. I was too young to join but one day I think the teacher, Miss Tate, took pity on me and asked me to join in. With a little persuasion (as I was very shy) I did eventually and I really enjoyed it and took to the dances easily. I attended all the way through junior school and became one of the star pupils. We used to enter school competitions at places like Scunthorpe on a Saturday and I loved it. We went on a coach and it seemed like a full day trip to me at the time. When I left the junior school Miss Tate awarded me with a little trophy which I was very proud of as I can’t remember anyone else receiving one. I still have it today, here it is.

Also, a first for our junior school was a brand new Tenor recorder. For some reason they just had the one and chose me to play it (I already played an ordinary recorder). So I was in the school orchestra as well as the Scottish dancing displays when we had our school concerts once a year. We also performed on Prize Giving Days which in the Summer were held in the playground after school and all the parents attended. I was very proud.

Finally, I gained Maltese Citizenship a couple of years ago.